Section 9: Concerning Our Worship
A. Concerning Our Worship of God
We believe that only the one true God of the Bible is worthy of being worshipped (Psalm 18:3; Revelation 4:11; 5:9-14); and that to render worship to any other being or thing is sin (Exodus 20:3-6; 34:14; Daniel 3:14-18; Revelation 19:10). We also believe the chief purpose of man’s existence is to please God through glorifying Him in worship (Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11). We believe no created being can ultimately stand against the will of God (Romans 9:19); and that one day all created beings (even those who have lived in spiritual rebellion and unbelief) will finally comply with God’s demand that they bow the knee in submission to God’s sovereign glory and power (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 20:10-15).
We believe during this present age, however, only those who come to God through the finished work of Christ may truly worship Him (John 10:1-10; 14:6; Ephesians 1:4-6; Hebrews 4:14-16); but that God rejects worship from those living in disobedience until they repent (Genesis 4:3-7; Isaiah 1:10-15; Amos 5:21-26; Jonah 3:5-10), that He does not need, or even desire, the testimony of those still in bondage to spiritual darkness until they have been released (Acts 16:16-18); that He does not hear the prayers of those with unrepentant sin until they confess (Psalm 32:1-11; 66:18), and that He disdains the gifts and sacrificial offerings of those who are out of fellowship, or who think their gifts bring them spiritual favor (Matthew 5:23-24; Acts 8:18-23). True worship is not a result of conforming to outward service, ceremony, or ritual; but rather, it results from a believer bringing his adoration to God in loving faith, in response to the self revelation of God’s presence (Exodus 3:3-5; Psalms 51:16-17; Isaiah 6:5-7).
We believe while true worship is always a function of our spirit, informed and energized by the truth of God (John 4:20-24; 8:31-32), the emotions of true worship may run the gamut from intense fear to exuberant joy, and will invariably result in the offering up of spiritual sacrifices from the believer to God (Psalms 96:1-13; Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Peter 2:5). Such sacrifices may take the form of obedient and joyful service to and on behalf of the Lord (Isaiah 6:8; Ephesians 5:19-21), praise and thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 23:30; Psalm 146:1-150:6), contemplative prayer and meditation (Psalm 4:1-5; 46:10-11; Habakkuk 2:20), confession of sin (Isaiah 6:5), fasting (2 Samuel 12:16, 21-23), giving an offering (1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 51:19; Matthew 2:11), or presenting a musical presentation (1 Chronicles 16:4-6; Psalm 27:6; 147:7; Ephesians 5:19). Toward this end, corporate worship must of necessity be theocentric (God-centered) as opposed to being anthropocentric (man-centered). The burden of our worship must be focused on that which would appropriately honor and please God rather than that which men (especially the unconverted or the world-ensnared believer) would find pleasing or think appropriate (2 Samuel 6:3-9, 12-23).